Shirl the Pearl …

This post is dedicated to the memory of Shirley Dunne, also known as “Shirl the Pearl”.

Shirley was one of the founding members of our Gardening Group in 2010 – uncovering archaeological remains in the car park, hacking through the bush to locate and poison noxious weeds, shovelling and barrowing mulch, planting, pruning and watering.
And for many years she was also a valuable BHAG committee member.

Shirley was an enthusiastic gardening volunteer – in fact, so enthusiastic that most of the photos we have show her barely visible amongst the plants , but we did manage to find a few of her smiling face …

We will remember her every time we garden at the hospital …
Thanks for the memories Shirley ūüíö

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Its a jungle out there !

Shirley & Jodie digging up ferns

Barb & Shirley pruning the hibiscus

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Daniel & Shirley – killing “Big Phil” the giant philodendron

2013 BHAG Gardening Clothes Line Garden 29th April email 008

Shirley, Fenella & Barb T in the Clothesline Garden


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Barb T, Shirley, Barb M & Daniel at Morning Tea – August 2012

Jodi, Daniel, Fenella, Shirley, Barb T, Barb M, Rhonda

Fenella, Shirley and Barb T – The Time Team uncovering ancient drains and paths.


Gardener’s morning tea – Sep 2010


Hospital staff, Barb T, Fenella, Janelle, Shirley & Barb M at a Thank You BBQ

Shirley’s cooking was legendary, and when it was her turn to bake for morning tea, we could always expect something delicious and interesting …

Shirley’s Apricot Meringue Slice

Shirley’s Apple Pecan Cake

Shirley’s legendary scones


Bellingen Garden Club visit …

Some time ago – several years in fact – Barb Towers (who now lives in Moss Vale) organised for the Bellingen Garden Club to visit the hospital and take a look at the results of all our gardening bees.¬† Bad weather forced the postponement on several occasions, but ….

Today Barb, it finally happened !

With the help of laminated “before” photos which she had already stuck to bollards and trees around the route, Barb Moore led the tour, explaining the condition of the hospital grounds before our group started work in 2011, and the plans for the Patient Wellness Garden.

The club members were hugely impressed with all our hard work, and many generously offered extra plants for the hospital gardens.

Volunteer of the Year Awards …

Premier Barry O'Farrell, Barbara Moore, Stewart Dowrick CE NSW Health Innovation Awards

Premier Barry O’Farrell, Barbara Moore, Stewart Dowrick CE NSW Health Innovation Awards

From: Barbara Moore (President BHAG Inc.)

On Friday the 11th of October I attended the NSW Innovation Symposium in Sydney.¬† Earlier this year I was approached by Claire Sartori (NUM of Hartley House at Bellingen Hospital) to be the ‚ÄėVolunteer‚Äô Name/Face to be submitted for Volunteer of the Year 2013 Innovation Award for the project that BHAG had been involved in at Hartley House.¬† I accepted this nomination on behalf of all the volunteers involved in the works.¬† Many community service organisations participated in the project: Bellingen Lions, Rotary, Men‚Äôs Shed and High School, Free Masons, Auxiliary and Pink Ladies and the Bellinger Health Action Group (BHAG). This was a most humbling and privileged honour as I am only one amongst many.

In particular I am only one in our team of volunteer gardeners at Bellingen Hospital so credit is also due to Fenella Briscomb, Shirley Dunne, Jodie Neal, Barbara Towers, Daniel Flesch and Rhonda MacGraw.

I may not have won the award this year but I was the only finalist from regional NSW (all other finalists were from Sydney metropolitan hospitals).¬† The winner was a wonderful 93 year old lady from Sydney who has volunteered for over 40 years at her local hospital.¬† So I will just have to continue volunteering for at least another 30 years to catch up with her commitment.¬† As I listened to the speakers at the ‚ÄėInnovation‚Äô symposium prior to the announcement of the award it was clear that what BHAG and other volunteer organisations are doing at Bellingen Hospital is truly innovative.

The work BHAG does at Bellingen Hospital is done with love and passion for gardening.  To be given the opportunity to restore, create and beautify the gardens adjacent to the hospital buildings fills us with pride and joy.  We also relish our sessions in the adjacent bushland areas (bush bashing) removing weeds and planting native species.  The health benefits to the patients and hospital staff is evident by the regular interaction we have during each working bee.  This is an honour and we appreciate their support and encouragement and we always welcome their invitation to work on another area.

There are other benefits for the hospital that follow our work.  The pedestrian areas are safer, the building infrastructure is protected from further damage by adjacent flora, drainage is improved and during our first sessions in 2010 we increased the car parking spaces by 10 vehicles in the main car park by removing encroaching plants.  Without the support of the maintenance team at the hospital (Steve, Andy and Jim) throughout the past 3 years we would not have achieved our goals. Other senior staff (Kath Boman, Janelle Goodall and Claire Sartori) have unreservedly encouraged and supported this working partnership with BHAG.  Permission and support from the CE (Stewart Dowrick) and Capital Works (Mark Wilson and Ken Meale) has been crucial in providing BHAG with this exceptional opportunity and we thank them for trusting us.

Thank you to NSW Health for this amazing opportunity to serve our community and assist in improving the health outcomes for patients and the work environment for staff.

If you would like to join our gardening group

please contact Barbara Moore on 66551898.

A pat on the back …

This week we received a pat on the back from the Bellingen Hospital …
Barb Moore was presented with a certificate of appreciation from the staff, patients and families – thanking us for the work we have done this year in the hospital gardens.
It’s great to know that our efforts are appreciated … we will be back in 2012 with renewed enthusiasm.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

Certificate of Appreciation from Bellingen Hospital

Hartley House BBQ…


The team at the BBQ


Today we were invited to a BBQ lunch at Hartley House.  The staff wanted to thank us for our gardening work Рwhich in part contributed to a glowing assessment when the healthcare accreditors returned last Thursday.

The BBQ was fun and after weeks of working in the wilderness, it was lovely to have such great feedback.  Barb M, Barb T, Shirley and Fenella were present.   The staff were very appreciative of the BHAG effort.  They have purchased a new mobile BBQ, timber garden bench seat, glass top/aluminium outdoor dining table & chairs, trinkets for the garden beds, a pedestal bird bath and planted flowering pansies etc  in the oval terracotta plant pots.

We will be back next week to continue our good work …